As an underclassman at Roberson, the number of advanced and college level courses available has traditionally been relatively limited. Many AP courses require prerequisites, making it difficult for a new high school student to apply. However, for underclassmen hoping to add advanced classes to their schedule for the next school year, online courses may start to be more of an option.
As of next fall, 9th grade students will be allowed to take the new AP course offered called AP Computer Science Principles. This course is the first college-level designed course offered to freshmen at TC.
Previously, honors level classes were the most advanced courses freshmen students were allowed to enroll in. This shift creates an opportunity for the class of 2019, and younger upcoming students, by allowing them to take higher level classes earlier in high school.
Current freshman Shaina Masterman is among the students who wish to take advanced courses in order to increase their grade point average. Masterman is planning on taking AP Environmental, a class typically taken by upperclassmen, next year as a sophomore.
“I was hesitant to sign up because it’s known to be a senior class, but science is fun for me. I decided to give myself a challenge for next year and see what AP classes are like,“ Masterman said.
Following an AP track along with taking multiple honors classes has traditionally been a way for students to increase their GPA and theoretically improve their class rank. Many AP courses are two semesters, and students hoping to take multiple year-long courses sometimes find themselves with scheduling problems.
Online AP and other online college courses are options for those looking for more advanced curriculums that also offer more possible scheduling flexibility.
Online classes at TC are available through two main outlets: North Carolina Virtual Public Schools and AB Tech. NCVPS offers standard, honors, and AP level courses. However, all NCVPS APs are typically year-long, count for one credit, and are not currently available to freshmen.
AB Tech classes are administered through the community college and will be weighted at the same level as AP college courses. If students successfully pass AB tech courses, most colleges, and specifically all UNC system schools, will grant college credit for completed classes.
Senior Josh Koon has taken multiple AP courses throughout his high school career and is currently finishing AP Online Human Geography. The class is his first online Advanced Placement class, which he decided to enroll in order to better manage his time.
“It is interesting but also difficult. I wish I had known about online AP’s sooner because I can go at my own pace, which is nice. I have a lot going on,” Koon said.
Counselor Michelle Wagaman expects a surge in the number of students interested in enrolling in AB tech classes, both online and face to face.
“They are a great introduction to what college level classes will be like,” Wagaman said.